Welcome to a Hump Day (“Là a’ chroit” in Scots Gaelic): Wednesday, October 25, 2023, and National Greasy Food Day. I’m having pasta; does that qualify? The quintessential greasy meal, of course, would be a cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate shake. Now it’ll be famous, for it’s been found that this is Taylor Swift’s favorite fast-food order.
Created by Richard Ankli of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sourest Day has a twofold purpose: to emphasize the balance of things in nature—on account of its proximity to Sweetest Day and to recognize sour people—because it also honors Ankli’s old roommate, Eric Sauer, on his birthday. Contrasts of life are sought, sour people are recognized, and sour food and candy are eaten.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the October 25 Wikipedia page.
*Gazans try a sea invasion, fail. From i24, an Israeli station:
IDF on the Zikim beach attempted terrorist infiltrations earlier today:
The IDF Navy unit located a Hamas terrorist cell that came out through a tunnel shaft on the coast in the Gaza Strip and tried to penetrate into Israeli territory in the Zikim area by sea. The IDF Navy unit, in cooperation with the air force and the northern division of the Gaza division, attacked the terrorists, and prevented their arrival at the beach. Fighter jets then destroyed the shaft from which the terrorists came out and the weapons warehouse used by the terrorists.
Here’s an i24 (Israeli news) tweet showing the IDF fighting the sea-invading Hamas terrorists:
WATCH: Battle on water
IDF releases footage of its battle against Hamas terrorists that attempted to infiltrate into Israel by sea on Tuesday evening, near Zikim beach on the Israel-Gaza border pic.twitter.com/ZLBwpJPqDm
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) October 25, 2023
*Here’s the latest news about the war from the NYT—though I can’t guarantee that some of it doesn’t come from Hamas!
The secretary general of the United Nations said on Tuesday that the attacks by Hamas that left 1,400 people dead in Israel on Oct. 7 were “appalling” but it did not justify the “collective punishment” of civilians in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli military significantly stepped up its bombardment in recent days.
Israel said it had struck more than 700 targets in Gaza in the past two days. The Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said that it had recorded the highest single-day death toll of the war on Tuesday: at least 704 people killed in dozens of strikes on homes, a refugee camp and other places. It was not possible to independently verify the toll.
The U.N. secretary general, António Guterres, called for a humanitarian cease-fire in an address to the U.N. Security Council, saying that it was important to recognize that the attacks by Hamas “did not happen in a vacuum” and Palestinians had been subjected to 56 years of “suffocating occupation.”
“The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas,” he said. “And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
His comments prompted fierce backlash from Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, who called on Mr. Guterres to resign in a post on social media. “It’s truly sad that the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust holds such horrible views,” he wrote.
The UN secretary general is, of course, an anti Israel stooge (that’s most of the UN), but there is heartening news from the US:
John Kirby, a White House spokesman, said the Biden administration did not support a cease-fire because it would only benefit Hamas and acknowledged that civilian casualties were all but inevitable as Israel tries to push Hamas out of Gaza.
“It is ugly and it’s going to be messy, and innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward,” he said. The United States, he added, had not discussed any red lines with Israel.
I thought that Biden did call for a cease-fire, which would be a mistake, but maybe I heard wrong. At any rate, Kirby is right, I think. I only wish that Hamas didn’t use human shields, or try to get as many Palestinians as possible killed by Israel to court world opinion. Golda Meir, not one of Israel’s best Prime Ministers, did get it right when she said this:
“When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
*At the bottom of Bari Weiss’s new Free Press column, “On double standards and deafening silence“, there’s a summary of war-related news that sounds as if were written by Nellie Bowles (it’s snarky). Here are three items from it:
→ WGA can’t condemn Hamas: The Writers Guild of America has decided to stay silent on Hamas’s October 7 atrocities while acknowledging that that decision would strike some of its members as “inadequate.” You bet it will.
WGA East says the decision follows a recent referendum in which members decided that leadership should “move away from public statements” that do not “direct involve our Guild, our industries, or the labor movement.”
There have been some breathtaking examples of moral cowardice in recent weeks, but the WGA stands out for its ability to muster more outrage over AI-generated articles—they are “an existential threat”—than the mass murder of Jews.
→ Shaun King, Hostage Negotiator: Remember Shaun King, the identity politics grifter? Well, he’s back. And this time he’s single-handedly de-escalating the Hamas hostage taking. Or so he claims. In a very strange post on Instagram last Friday, King appeared to take credit for the release of two American hostages in Gaza, contending that he had “worked frantically behind the scenes” to make it happen. This, it seems, is a total fabrication. In a statement, the freed hostages’ family said: “Our family does not and did not have anything to do with him, neither directly nor indirectly. Not to him and not to anything he claims to represent.”
→ Hogan dumps Harvard: Moderate Republican and former Maryland governor Larry Hogan has taken a stand against campus intolerance by announcing that he will not take up the fellowships he was due to start at Harvard next month. “I cannot condone the dangerous antisemitism that has taken root on your campus,” said Hogan in a statement Monday, adding that he hoped the move “may help further spur you to take meaningful action to address antisemitism and restore the values that Harvard should represent to the world.”
*And I consider this very bad news. After a long hiatus, Iran (via its thugs) has resumed attacking U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq—possibly a prelude to a very wide conflict. I’ve always wondered if Israel is, even at this moment, considering taking out Iran’s nascent nuclear program? That may have to wait a while until things settle down (if they ever do) in Gaza. From the WSJ:
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Tuesday that Washington would react “swiftly and decisively” if Iran or its proxy forces attack U.S. personnel after Tehran raised the risk of a larger Middle East conflict in recent days by unleashing the regional militias it has spent years arming.
For more than six months, these Iranian-backed militia groups refrained from launching drones or rockets against American troops in Iraq and Syria, as part of what appeared to be an undeclared truce between Tehran and Washington.
That came to an abrupt end when U.S. officials said that Iran-backed groups launched 10 drone and rocket attacks against bases that U.S. troops use in Iraq and another three on a U.S. base in southeast Syria.
The attacks were carried out between Oct. 17 and Oct. 24. In one of the attacks at al-Asad air base in Iraq last week, U.S. troops shot a militia group’s drone out of the sky, where it fell atop of an American drone and destroyed it, U.S. military officials said.
In Yemen, the Iranian-backed Houthis also fired five Iranian-provided cruise missiles and launched about 30 drones toward Israel in an attack that was larger than initially described by the Pentagon, U.S. officials said.
Last week, the USS Carney guided missile cruiser, which was operating in the northern Red Sea, shot down four of the cruise missiles while a fifth cruise missile was intercepted by Saudi Arabia as it protected its airspace, according to people familiar with the episode. Those cruise missiles have a range of more than 2,000 kilometers (about 1,240 miles), the Pentagon said Tuesday, which would enable them to reach targets in Israel.
Thank Ceiling Cat that the U.S. carrier forces are hovering in the Mediterranean near Israel. For without them, I think Hezbollah would already have widened the war with a full-out attack on Israel for the north. I do think that Biden would order a harsh attack on Lebanon if Hezbollah tried anything.
*Glory be—the House Republicans have nominated a speaker! (Tom Emmer is now the Majority Whip in the House.) But there are GOP holdouts who need to be persuaded:
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the House majority whip, was elected as the GOP speaker nominee on a fifth ballot in an internal race that drew nine Republican candidates. However, he does not yet have enough support to be elected on the House floor because of Republican holdouts. To prevail, Emmer would need a majority of the full chamber. Emmer, who has been in Congress since 2015, previously chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee — the House GOP campaign arm — for four years. He is the third Republican speaker nominee since the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
. . . On the vote for speaker, the conference eliminated candidates with each ballot. The last remaining candidate besides Emmer was Rep. Mike Johnson (La.).
. . . A separate vote taken behind closed doors among House Republicans made it clear that Emmer is well short of the votes he would need to prevail on the House floor.
House Republicans have adjourned their all-members meeting so that speaker designate Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) can talk to the roughly two dozen holdouts in a smaller group setting, according to lawmakers leaving the room. They have been told to reconvene in the same room at 4 p.m. Eastern.
“It’s a dumpster fire, frankly,” Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) told reporters as he left the room.
Man, it’s been a dumpster fire for a long time! It’s also hurting the country. On June 1 we run out of money again and the government will shut down, and the WaPo adds this:
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the stalemate in the House is affecting President Biden’s ability to manage global affairs.
“It would be really helpful if he could also get the support of Congress up on Capitol Hill, particularly for this supplemental funding,” Kirby told reporters at a White House briefing. “It will be immensely simpler and easier for the president to manage all these multiple crises if we could get that funding for Ukraine, the funding for Israel, the funding for the Indo-Pacific strategy, and of course, down at the border.”
As I read it, Emmer’s political positions are pretty hard right.
*The AP “Oddities” section reports the theft of two million dimes being trucked away from a U.S. Mint.
Federal authorities have released more details and unsealed charges in the theft of more than 2 million dimes earlier this year from a tractor-trailer that had picked up the coins from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
The truck driver was bound for Miami when he pulled into a parking lot to sleep on April 13. During the night, thieves made off with a portion of its cargo of $750,000 in dimes, a shipment weighing about six tons, authorities had said earlier.
Thousands of coins were left scattered all over the lot in northeast Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that prosecutors contend that the theft — which they now say totaled $234,500 in stolen dimes — was part of a spree of robberies from tractor-trailers passing through the region that also netted the thieves frozen crab legs, shrimp, meat, beer and liquor.
Detectives said at the time that surveillance video showed six men, dressed in gray hoodies and armed with bolt cutters, approaching the truck in the middle of the night and breaking into it, then loading the coins into smaller bags and into a waiting truck.
The indictment unsealed Friday alleges that after the theft, thousands of dimes were converted into cash at coin machines in Maryland or through deposits to at least four different suburban Philadelphia banks, the newspaper reported.
Four suspects “face conspiracy, robbery, theft of government money and other charges.” I would suspect that banks would have been on the alert for people trying to cash in huge number of dimes, and I wonder if that’s how the suspects were caught!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants a nosh:
Hili: We are turning away from the sun.A: Time for supper.
Hili: Odwracamy się od słońca.Ja: Czas na kolację.
From BuzzFeeed. Beware: cannibals!:
From Seth Andrews, who asks, “Do I have a cousin I don’t know about?”
From Masih. This is a new tweet because although the photos of her face and of her in the hospital have been shown before, there’s a video of her walking unveiled, which is new.
Remember the viral videos of Iranians protesting against the beating death of a young woman, #MahsaAmini by the “morality police”?
It’s happened AGAIN, and the Iranians have had ENOUGH.
— Bree A Dail (@breeadail) October 24, 2023
Titania has tweeted, though I don’t think this guy should have been arrested (I guess he did violate British law, but not American):
The Met Police have arrested this peaceful protester just because he accidentally called for a war against infidels and cursed the Jews.
Islamophobia in London is out of control. https://t.co/HNC0553DZw
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) October 23, 2023
Yes, Greta, who’s always put me off though I applaud her dedication and her cause, stands with Gaza:
Week 270. Today we strike in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza. The world needs to speak up and call for an immediate ceasefire, justice and freedom for Palestinians and all civilians affected.#FreePalestine #IStandWithPalestine #StandWithGaza #FridaysForFuture
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) October 20, 2023
From Barry. I’ve enjoyed the absence of Tr*mp, but he’s making stupid noises again. What Barry asks of this is “what is our religion?”
Trump says he will prevent immigrants who “don’t like our religion” from entering the United States pic.twitter.com/oYzWgytvN7
— Acyn (@Acyn) October 23, 2023
From Simon, a photo of Larry the Cat. And Simon says, “And they DO!” Try it for yourself!
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) October 23, 2023
Reader Jez says that this photo cheers him up, as it’s a rough time for all. This is cheerful!
— #WOMENSART (@womensart1) October 22, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman who died in her twenties:
25 October 1923 | A Polish Jewish woman, Lina Blitz, was born in Nowy Sącz. During the war she lived in Antwerp.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 25, 2023
We have two tweets from Matthew about salps (he posted on them on this website in 2010):
A female Phronima sedentaria – ‘monster in a barrel’ – on Scilly today!
An amphipod crustacean, she parasitises salps, devouring them from the inside, forming a vessel to raise her young!
These incredible creatures were the inspiration behind Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, Alien 👽 pic.twitter.com/4T27mzSAwP
— Scott Reid (@stmarys_patch) October 23, 2023
This thread tells you how weird salps are: here’s a rope of clones produced by asexual reproduction. Be sure to see the thread.
1/ Are you sitting down? Get comfy, this one's a doozy: Here's a PSA about the alternation of generations and sequential hermaphroditism of Thetys vagina salps. pic.twitter.com/eieRX0Hq5P
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) August 17, 2018